A battle between two fashion labels over which one can lay claim to a crocodile trademark in New Zealand is heading to the Supreme Court.

The move is the latest in an ongoing tussle between Crocodile International and Lacoste.

Both clothing companies use a logo with a picture of a crocodile and have argued around the globe about who gets to lay claim to it in various countries.

The two companies have battled for decades here and abroad, with occasional truces.


In 2008, Crocodile International said Lacoste had not genuinely used that trademark and wanted it revoked, which New Zealand's assistant commissioner of trademarks agreed to do.

Lacoste appealed this and was successful in the High Court, where Justice David Collins overturned the assistant commissioner of trademarks' decision.

Crocodile International then went to the Court of Appeal, with Queen's Counsel David Laurenson arguing Justice Collins was mistaken because he incorrectly identified the "essential elements" of Lacoste's trademark.

However, the Court of Appeal was satisfied Justice Collins' identification was correct, saying the crocodile image was the "central idea and message" of the logo, not the word crocodile or the combination of the word and logo.

"As we put it to Mr Laurenson, it is all about the crocodile," the appellate court said.

Crocodile International, this afternoon, was given leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The question the country's highest court will consider illustrates the long-winded nature of the dispute so far:

"Did the Court of Appeal err in upholding the High Court decision to set aside the order made by the Assistant Commissioner of Trade Marks revoking [the trade mark]?"